2008 Los Angeles Dodgers Playoff Outlook
The Los Angeles Dodgers signed manager Joe Torre in the offseason, hoping his years of success with the New York Yankees would rub off on one of baseball's greatest franchises.
It seems to have worked at least somewhat, as the Dodgers continue to hang around in the National League West and challenge the Arizona Diamondbacks despite a multitude of injuries.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal's worst nightmares came true when his chronic back problems began flaring up again. After being the team's best hitter over the first month or so of the season, Furcal's back injury put him out for the year and crippled the team's offense.
It also hasn't helped that free agent signee Andruw Jones has been nothing short of terrible in his time with the Dodgers. He tore ligaments in his knee and missed time because of the corresponding surgery, but his absence was hardly noticeable.
The Dodgers, a team known and often criticized for failing to make a big move at the trade deadline and holding onto all of its prospects, finally made a big splash this year. And did they ever.
Los Angeles jumped into a three-team trade with the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates and gave up a few prospects for outfielder Manny Ramirez. Ramirez, thrilled to get out of Boston, has thrived in L.A.
He is hitting over .400 since joining the Dodgers and may have earned himself a big deal if he re-signs with the team in the offseason. He is clearly happy where he is right now, and Torre seems to be able to keep him under control for now.
The starting rotation has been somewhat disappointing, as Brad Penny has been hurt much of the year and has not been anywhere near as good as he was last season. Hiroki Kuroda has also been a disappointment.
The one bright spot has been Chad Billingsley, who is beginning to develop into the frontline starter everyone thought he could become. It's also worth mentioning that Derek Lowe has rebounded from a slow start to pitch very well and give them a solid No. 2 starter.
The Dodgers have been hurt by the injury bug all season long and it shows no signs of stopping now. They are also not as talented as the Diamondbacks, but maybe Torre's managing can make up for some of that.